Friday, August 12, 2011

Review: The Blackhope Enigma

The Blackhope Enigma
The Blackhope Enigma by Teresa Flavin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paintings and Labyrinths and Monsters, Oh My!

Sunni and step-brother, Dean, are at Blackhope Castle so Sunni can work on an art project. While Sunni is studying a painting, Dean studies the labyrinth on the floor and accidently transports himself into the painting…Sunni manages to figure out how he did it and follows him…leaving her friend Blaise as the only person who knows what is going on.

Meanwhile, Sunni and Dean must figure out how to get themselves back out of the painting. Along the way they discover other people in the painting, monsters, swash-buckling adventures on the high seas, and the answers to several centuries worth of questions and mysteries surrounding the painting and it’s creator.

This was a wonderful story in vein of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Blackhope had a little of everything…mystery, thrills, adventure, and a hint of romance. Flavin created several little worlds that all interlaced beautifully. Her writing was very atmospheric…I loved that when Sunni and Dean examined the picture from within the picture, the details were smudged, kind of like when a picture on the screen is blown up and you can see the individual pixels. It’s the little details, like this, that really made the story…but Flavin didn’t bury the reader with them.

Sunni, our heroine, was quick thinking, while Dean was her comedic foil…snarky without trying to be. Blaise, Sunni’s friend, was the perfect balance to Sunni and with the two of them working together it was clear they could accomplish anything. Bellini, the art thief, out for himself no matter the cost, foiled at every turn…and really got his comeuppance in the end. I loved where he ended up (couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy!). You never really knew who Hugo was and if he could be trusted! And Marin, well, I started out hating him, but loved him by the end of the story!

This book is geared more towards 5th-8th graders, but could be enjoyed by anyone who like a little magic with their adventure.

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